The campaign to shut down Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) is
fast becoming one of the most significant in animal rights movement's history.
The speed, methodology, and determination with which one of the world's biggest
animal testing laboratories is being brought to it's knees, almost entirely by
the efforts of volunteer grassroots activists, denotes the endless possibilities
of what what a small community of passionate campaigners can do. The closure of
HLS by an animal rights campaign will not only mean saving the 180,000 animals
that die annually in HLS laboratories, but will also signify another nail in the
coffin of the vivisection industry.
Huntingdon Life Sciences is Europe's largest contract animal testing laboratory
and ranks as one of the largest in the world. HLS is a company based in the
United Kingdom where it operates two laboratory sites. Additionally HLS runs
another laboratory facility in East Millstone New Jersey called the Princeton
Research Center. Everyday 500 animals die a horrible death after being slowly
poisoned. At any one point there are over 70,000 animals in the HLS labs
suffering a fate worse than death, including over 1,000 dogs, 200 cats, 1,000
monkeys, 4,000 guinea pigs, 2,000 rabbits, 3,000 birds, 4,000 fish, and
countless farms animals and rodents. HLS specializes in testing the toxicity of
agrochemical, GMOs, food colorings, adhesives, washing powders, and various
pharmaceutical products. In the Spring of 2000 SHAC USA was formed to target the
New Jersey laboratory and the shareholders based in America, of which the
largest are located. SHAC has worked with groups across America, and worked
closely with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Americans for
Medical Advancement. SHAC-USA has organized regular protests outside the New
Jersey lab, and launched a significant campaigns against Stephen's Inc., HLS's
largest investor and primary financier. After a year, HLS's white knight,
Stephens Inc. capitulated and sold off 43 million shares. The fast and furious
start to the American campaign has made amazing progress. Two large American
shareholders have sold their stake in the company, the Bank of New York dumped 7
million shares, the president of the NJ lab has resigned, and the lab itself has
been swamped in calls and letters. Major shareholders, market makers,
stockbrokers and local suppliers to the lab have also announced their removal of
support of the lab at an amazing rate.
The SHAC campaign has over the last year hit HLS in a multi
pronged attack on the workers, shareholders, and clients resulting in all-time
low worker morale, a rock bottom share price, and a loss of customer confidence.
Workers: Everyday of the week a
crowd of protesters assemble outside the gates of HLS's main lab site in
Huntingdon. All day long as workers of HLS come go they are greeted with
screaming protesters who let them know just how much their worth. Every eight
weeks SHAC holds national demonstrations wherein over a thousand protesters show
up to the lab, the town center, or a company affiliated with HLS in the area and
lay siege to 'em. large demonstrations are always followed up with several home
demonstrations of the workers. These tactics combined with the ALF's series of
car bombings of workers (at 11 now) and numerous attacks on their homes has the
a tremendous effect. There is a high turnover rate, and according to court
documents several workers are having a hard time even finishing a days work, or
sleeping at night. Clients: Through the various
exposes a large number of HLS's clients who contract the company to test their
products on animals has been learned. Animal rights activists across the UK have
demonstrated against one of HLS's biggest customers, SmithKline Beecham, outside
grocery stores and drug stores encouraging a massive consumer boycott and
warning stickers are placed on the products. SHAC has also published in the
internet the names and home addresses of the directors of HLS's clients to
encourage people to take their protest directly to the people who have the
ultimate say in whether HLS is used or not. The results have been a number of
clients pulling their business from HLS and customer confidence to be severely
To date the most
successful tool in the battle to shut down this vile place has been to target
those who own bits of the lab through their shares. SHAC published the names and
addresses of those all across England and internationally that have shares in
HLS on the internet (view the shareholder list) and additionally mailed out to
all of them an informational pack requesting they sell their shares. Countless
shareholders sold their stake in HLS immediately after learning of what HLS
really did, and several others sold after having crowds of angry protesters on
their doorsteps nightly. The biggest boost to the campaign has been targeting
the corporate shareholders who own several thousand, or million, shares in the
company. After publicity stunts, office occupations, phone and mail blockades,
and home visits to the directors of the shareholding companies, large amounts of
HLS stock had been and is continuously dumped on the market plummeting HLS's
share price. HLS's own stockbroker dumped them as a client after an important
event they hosted in a trendy South London wine bar was stormed by animal rights
activists. The ALF has also contributed largely to this campaign when one of
HLS's biggest shareholders sold all 41 million shares they had for one pence
each after they received a bomb threat and had their entire building evacuated
for the day. HLS's Bank: In addition to targeting the shareholders, SHAC has
focused in on the bank that gave HLS 22.5 million pound loan after the 1997
investigations. This loan kept HLS from closing and remains in that capacity
today. All across the UK demonstrations have taken place outside (and often
inside) the banks resulting in an 'alarming' number of customers closing their
accounts. The ALF contributed to this aspect of the campaign by disabling dozens
of the banks ATM's by inserting into the machines cards covered in super glue.
The bank has succumb to animal rights pressure and has decided not to renew the
loan, but has granted several extensions so that HLS may secure another loan, so
the campaign continues.
Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty directs a large portion of their energy
towards education in an attempt to make the public as well as Huntingdon Life
Sciences (HLS) customers, clients and shareholders aware of the atrocities going
on behind the closed doors of HLS. Educational outreach in public areas and
holding informational town meetings has given the general public insight into
HLS's labs and the animal abuse, sloppy science and poor worker conduct going on
inside. This in turn has inspired people to take action in the fight to close
HLS. SHAC has also educated unknowing HLS clients, shareholders and investors
about the torture they were supporting. Upon learning about the horrors these
animals were enduring, they cut all ties with HLS. This has caused a significant
and steady decline in HLS stock which has already brought them to the brink of
foreclosure once already. To get involved with educational outreach in your
area, to obtain fliers to start your own outreach program or to host your own
SHAC town meeting in your area, contact SHAC for more information.
PROTESTStop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty utilizes peaceful
protest as a powerful tactic to smash Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). Targeting
both HLS directly as well as their shareholders, investors, clients and
employees has proven effective in other campaigns as well as the drastic
collapse of HLS. SHAC has targeted HLS directly both in the US and in the UK.
Not only have they had their offices and laboratories protested, activists have
taken the fight to the employees front steps. Up to 70,000 animals linger in
fear inside HLS, not knowing if they will be the next to be poisoned to death,
punched in the face or disected alive. As they sit in their cages at night, in
their own congeled blood, vomit and feces, the employees are allowed to go home
to live in the comfort of their own homes and relax with their loved ones. They
don't have to concern themselves with the well being of the animals who are left
alone each night. So it is important that these employees are reminded day and
night, at work and at home, that they are responsible for the death of 500
animals a day. HLS clients, investors and business associates are also the
target of protest. By attacking HLS's financial pilliars of support, we are able
to remove any sort of financial incentive for businesses or individuals to
utilize HLS as a business or as an investment. This had led to HLS's constantly
dropping stock price and low client confidence. To get active with an
organization in your area currently targeting HLS, Stephens Inc or other HLS
related businesses or individuals, or to start your own compaign, contact SHAC.
DIRECT ACTIONStop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty is comprised of above
ground volunteers who spearhead an international, legal campaign to close
Huntingdon Life Sciences. We operate within the boundaries of the law, but
recognize, and support, those who choose to operate outside the confines of the
legal system. Big business has shown time and time again their lack of concern
for ethics, instead focusing their attention on their profit. Often, simply
targeting said business proves fruitless. However, as above ground activists
have successfully targeted HLS's financial pillars of support, undergound
activists have too targeted HLS's pocketbooks. Unidentified individuals as well
as underground cells of the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation
Front have engaged in economic sabotoge of HLS and their associates.
They have also spent their time directly intervening and
liberating the animals who are slated to die inside of HLS. Animals have been
liberated from breeders as well as the laborotories themselves. SHAC does not
organize any such actions or have any knowledge of who is doing them or when
they will happen, but encourage people to support direct action when it happens
and those who may participate in it.
America's Number 1 Terrorists Animal activists fall victim to new law designed
to protect profit generating
I saw no signposts to the place: Huntingdon Life Sciences. It isn`t supposed to be found. It took us quite a while to get there after leaving the town of Huntingdon, having taken a few wrong turnings. The road leading to HLS has been off-limits for four years, but the injunction permits access past the police barriers once or twice a year, I believe, for national protests.
We crossed an archaic bridge in a pretty hamlet and were shortly on the highway when all of a sudden the countryside and all that is natural about it seemed to have called a halt. Winds blew instead over a landscape of sparse open fields with no trees or anything in sight on either side except for what appeared on the horizon to be two thin chimneys rising against the skyline and, beneath these, some low, flat, barrack-style buildings.
This was Animal Auschwitz, in the middle of nowhere. I had grave and sombre feelings as I knew we were getting close and hoped that the place would not appear over the next bend. I didn`t want to see it, knowing what takes place there. The vast majority of drivers past this monstrosity are as ignorant of it as its absence from any signposts would have them to be.
Those of us in the know cannot help but be overcome with revulsion at the very thought of it, let alone the sight.
The presence of police vehicles alerted me to the fact that we had now arrived. The wind starting to batter, we parked, and walked the thirty minutes or so down the long winding lane to the death factory. Our parked vehicles stretching into the distance showed us our numbers - several hundred people not about to stay silent in the face of the obscene existence that is HLS. I thought, shame on the silent and the passive, whose cowardice underpins this place.
Then the razor-sharp barbed wire atop the steel barriers and the ditches bear testimony, only feet from where we stand, to the nature of what goes on within; what is going on, only feet from us, as we stand there, looking at this dead place.
I glimpse a dirty old rag hanging on a peg through a grimy window. Eerie silence and the imagination testify to whatever else lies within.
(The only thing to differentiate the place from its human-holding equivalents is the absence of machine-gun nests). The wind blowing. Silence. Nothing. Death. And we hear the facts:
Thousands of animals lie cowed within at any one time. The flat, barrack-style buildings contain rodents here, beagles there. There are primates too; all manner of sentient, suffering beings lie in cages within: bloody, poisoned, fearful, terrorised, alone, dying slowly from inflicted wounds in the name of "research".
Around 500 every day are killed when their tortured bodies have no room for further abuse.
Even most vivisectors and most companies will not touch HLS; will not dare to defend it. It is known as the lowest of the low. Secret footage taken by former employees of HLS, sickened and repelled by what they saw, showed other, laughing, employees swinging beagle puppies by the scruff and punching them in the face.
These puppies are wrenched still unweaned from their mothers at the Interfauna breeding and supply facility near HLS and handed to HLS for vivisection and abuse for the remainder of their brief lives before they are killed and dumped in the incinerator.
HLS staff have the audacity to invite schoolchildren and their parents inside on special days to play with these puppies as a sick PR tactic. (The children can then get into mum and dad`s car and be driven home with "happy memories" as, behind them in HLS, the tubes are driven down the throats of the puppies they`ve played with, who are then injected with toxins - on an average of nine times a day - poisoned, wounded, and finally killed.)
HLS also places ads for staff in the local press to attract young employment hopefuls with wording such as: "Would you like to work with animals?" The young and desperate unemployed are targeted because they can be more easily moulded, brutalised and desensitized from the moment they set foot in HLS, where they are taught disrespect for life and indoctrinated with the callousness which accompanies such an attitude.
HLS hence produces thugs and potential criminals out of the raw material of young minds and hearts, poisoning them and crushing their souls as they set out on life. The social consequences of this alone don`t bear thinking about.
Most UK investors have now pulled out of this foul enterprise and HLS now relies largely on foreign investments.
Nonetheless, as Round 3 of the fight against HLS begins (and the presence on this Saturday, November 10th, of hundreds of demonstrators, proves opposition has far from dissipated as HLS would have us believe), with this monstrous institution at last on the ropes, we cannot and must not ease our vigilance.
Anti-HLS marches took place likewise on this day on the west coast of the USA, in Holland and in Spain, sending a clear message that this institutionalised animal abuse will not be tolerated by ethical, thinking, feeling people of the 21st century. The shame lies with those in Britain who harbour HLS in their very midst and do nothing.
Are you in? Or are you in denial? Evil triumphs when good people do nothing.